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Burton, Joan

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Business of Dáil (Continued)

No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Confidence in Taoiseach and Government: Motion (Continued)

In evaluating how far one has travelled, it is necessary to remember the starting point. In November 2010, the US financial journalist Michael Lewis visited this country to write about Ireland’s e...More Button

I am happy to say we have demonstrated the opposite, quickly agreeing a statement of Government priorities which spelled out how we would work to secure and deepen the economic recovery in a manner...More Button

We set six key priorities: strengthening the economy and prioritising new jobs for the unemployed, delivering better living and working standards, improving housing availability and affordability, ...More Button

Coalition governments are not easy. By definition, two parties with different political outlooks will disagree on issues from time to time. That is as it should be – robust debate is to be welc...More Button

The Taoiseach is a man of integrity who has nothing other than Ireland's best interests at heart. The trust at the centre of the Government has created the room for vigorous debate on policy tha...More Button

The recent budget marked a decisive shift, completing the first phase of the recovery and beginning the second - restoring living standards for families, older people, and low and middle-income w...More Button

Having already taken 310,000 workers out of the USC net in 2011, we removed an additional 80,000 workers from the USC net in the recent budget. We made a series of other tax reforms that ensured...More Button

Also from January, we are increasing child benefit by €5 for all families to assist with the cost of raising children, and we will repeat that in the next budget. We have restored a 25% Christma...More Button

We are providing a record €3.8 billion for social housing and have started to recruit more teachers in our schools – including special needs assistants - and more gardaí on our streets. That is ...More Button

Work and fair wages are front and centre to that aim. Full employment must be our key priority, because the strongest protection against poverty is decent, secure and fairly paid work. Labour i...More Button

They seem to want welfare only. That is to insult working people. It is for this reason that budget 2015 provides an additional €3 billion in resources for the domestic economy compared to previo...More Button

The Government’s Construction 2020 and social housing strategies will, between them, bring tens of thousands of new affordable and social homes every year, and provide jobs for the 80,000 constru...More Button

Let me be clear and this is where we differ from some of the people who call themselves left wing. We want every teenager in this country to have an opportunity to get an apprenticeship, trainee...More Button

I have mentioned trust a couple of times in this speech already and I wish to briefly return to the topic. Trust is an essential part of public life. The next general election will be about trust.More Button

I have absolute confidence that when the members of the public are asked whom they trust to secure and deepen the recovery and spread it to every household, they will place their faith in this Gove...More Button

It is just one year since Ireland’s exit from the bailout. By and large, we have stopped talking about the bailout because as a country all of us wish it never happened and as a people we are st...More Button

However, it happened and it was caused largely by Fianna Fáil's ruinous bank guarantee which left the country in financial rubble.More Button

That was the reality which this Government faced upon taking office.More Button

The rubble was at our feet and we had to find a way to rebuild the economy and begin the recovery. I heard Deputy Adams recently on a radio programme telling Europe to bugger off or sod off, or wh...More Button

During all the debates he continually wanted to default and now he wants to default in the future precisely when that would be one of the most nonsensical things to do. Not even most of the Indepe...More Button

If that is what it means to have a thought-out economic policy, it would imperil the future-----More Button

-----of every child in this country and put us trundling back into the arms of the troika. It is incredibly irresponsible to suggest at this point in time that this country can default again.More Button

This Government will finish the job it was elected by the people to do. We will work with might and main on behalf of the people to bring the recovery to every individual, every family and every c...More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Water Services Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Intestate Estates

Was asked: the arrangements that are in place to meet the funeral-burial costs of a person who dies intestate and who does not have any family members with the means to meet the costs involved.More Button

Social Welfare Appeals

Was asked: if a means test in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be reviewed to take account of taxation and other expenses not included in the assessment.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, concluded that the assessment of the person’s concerned means was c...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: if she will make arrangements whereby the Social Welfare Appeals Office will deal with appeals regarding the recovery of overpayments especially where the member of the public is not satisfied that...More Button

When a revised decision on a person’s social welfare entitlement is made, the Deciding Officer has regard to the full facts of the case. Where it is decided that there is a retrospective reduction...More Button

When a revised decision has been made, the claimant is notified and given the right to appeal the decision within 21 days. The person is also entitled to seek an internal review of the decision ...More Button

When seeking to recover a debt by deduction from ongoing entitlements, the Department does not propose making any deductions that would likely visit hardship on beneficiaries. The Department wil...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Clare who lodged an appeal 12 months ago will receive an outcome to their case; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence has allowed the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned has been no...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfar...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be reached on a BASIC appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be reached on a BASIC appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 166 together.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 3 Decem...More Button

Illness Benefit Payments

Was asked: if she will include persons (details supplied) who are on illness benefit long term in the social welfare Christmas bonus payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she will extend the Christmas bonus to persons who are currently in receipt of long-term illness benefit under the pre-2008 rules; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is proposed to take Question Nos. 121 and 141 together.More Button

The Christmas bonus was paid last week to over 1.2 million long-term social welfare recipients at a cost of circa €65 million. More Button

The Bonus was introduced in 1980 and was paid annually (at varying rates) until it was abolished in 2009. I was pleased to be in the position to partially restore the bonus this year. A 25% bon...More Button

It should be noted that persons who are permanently incapable of work may be entitled to the PRSI contribution based Invalidity Pension, subject to satisfying the relevant conditions. Persons who...More Button

Household Benefits Scheme

Was asked: if, after moving from jobseeker's benefit or jobseeker's allowance to a carer's allowance, a person becomes ineligible for the telephone and fuel allowance; and if she will make a statement on the ...More Button

A person moving from long-term jobseeker’s allowance to carer’s allowance would not be eligible for fuel allowance, as carer’s allowance is not a qualifying payment. More Button

However, a person in receipt of carer’s allowance may become eligible for the household benefits package, which is not available for people in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance. The package inclu...More Button

Approximately 415,000 customers receive the fuel allowance of €20 per week for 26 weeks from October to April, at an estimated cost of €208 million in 2014. The electricity or gas allowance of €3...More Button

Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, exceptional needs payments may be made to help meet an essential, once-off cost which customers are unable to meet out of their own resources; th...More Button

It is recognised in the Government’s Energy Affordability Strategy that the best way to tackle fuel poverty in the long term is to improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling. The Better Energy...More Button

Personal Public Service Numbers

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to a supermarket chain (details supplied) seeking job applicants to supply personal public service numbers before being allowed to submit a job application; if this ...More Button

A Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a reference number established for specific public service purposes by legislation. More Button

My Department is committed to protecting and facilitating the use of the PPS Number in accordance with the law. The legislation governing the use of the PPS Number is contained in the Social Wel...More Button

There is no basis for a prospective employer to capture a candidate's PPS Number at the application stage. An employer should only seek a PPS Number if the person is successful at recruitment st...More Button

In relation to the particular case referred to by the Deputy, my Department has both written to and telephoned the organisation in question in recent days informing it that it is not permitted to...More Button

Labour Activation Measures

Was asked: if she will provide details regarding a company (details supplied) in their provision of job placements; if she will provide in tabular form the numbers of long-term unemployment in each of the des...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits

Was asked: if she will provide a breakdown of recipients by scheme in tabular form who have received the Christmas bonus in Dublin 8, 10 and 12; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Information relating to a claimant’s address is not currently coded to the geographical location of the address nor to the Postal District code. As such it is not possible to provide a breakdown of...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a decision on a carer's allowance appeal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: to set out the position regarding an appeal for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13 November 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: if and when an oral hearing will take place in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath in respect of a pending carer's allowance application; and if she will make a statement on...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 1 December 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: if an appeal will be expedited for a carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 11 November 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfar...More Button

Insolvency Payments Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: to set out her views on making arrangements to allow payments of wages due under the Payment of Wages Act 1991 to be paid from the Social Insurance Fund in a similar manner to the statutory redunda...More Button

The purpose of the insolvency payments scheme, which operates under the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act, 1984, which, in turn, derives from EU Council Directive 987/80, is to pr...More Button

Where a person’s former employer was a limited company, the company must be in liquidation or receivership in order for the person to be eligible to claim under the insolvency payments scheme. I...More Button

As long as a business is still operating, the employer is responsible for all monies due under the Payment of Wages Act. As the Deputy is aware, my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise a...More Button

Employment Support Services

Was asked: to outline her views on whether counselling may be useful as an activation tool; if her attention has been drawn to programmes incorporating these methods as designed by a company (details supplied...More Button

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Was asked: when a decision on an invalidity appeal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 1 October 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 11 November 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to s...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: if she will confirm that community employment participants who commenced prior to 16 January 2012 and have had continuous service may retain their primary social welfare payment alongside the CE pe...More Button

Was asked: if she will report on the number of community employment participants who will have a dual payment ended after December 2014; and the savings to the Department's budget as a result of this change.More Button

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: with regard to the assessment for the half rate of carer's allowance the reason contribution-based payments such as the contributory pension are treated in the same manner as non-contributory payme...More Button

Was asked: to set out the reason a person in receipt of the contributory pension who is caring for a spouse, who is not in receipt of a payment from her Department, is not eligible to receive the full rate of...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 136 together.More Button

Carers’ allowance is a means tested payment, payable to those providing full-time care and attention to a care recipient where the recipient of care is aged 16 or over and so incapacitated as to ...More Button

Means for the purposes of carer's allowance are calculated in accordance with Part III of the Third Schedule to the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 (as amended).More Button

The carer's means include any income the carer or his/her spouse/partner may have e.g. earnings, an occupational pension or pensions or benefits from another country. Assets including property bu...More Button

The application of the means test for carers’ allowance is not dependent on whether the person is in receipt of a contributory or non- contributory social welfare payment as all social welfare pa...More Button

Where the carer receives a social welfare payment from another State, an amount up the maximum rate of the Irish State Pension Contributory is exempt from the means test. Any foreign social welfa...More Button

A person on a contributory pension is precluded from receiving full rate carers’ allowance – it would not be equitable that a person should be in receipt of two full primary weekly social welfare...More Button

  Question No. 137 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for carer's allowance received, rejected and restored in each of the past six months to date in 2014; the extent to which individual circumstances were borne in mind befo...More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment to eligible people who are looking after a person who needs support because of age, disability or illness, including mental illness. Every decision...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: to set out the position regarding a domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from the person concerned on 20 February 2014. The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying c...More Button

A review of this decision was requested on the 20th August 2014 and additional information on this child’s condition/care needs was supplied. The application together with the new information sup...More Button

Having reviewed the application in its entirety, the deciding officer considered that a revision of the original decision was not warranted and confirmed this in writing on 18 October 2014. The ...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be made on a domiciliary care allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned applied for domiciliary care allowance in respect of two children. The first application was received on 5 September 2014. The application was not allowed as the child was not ...More Button

An application for the second child was received on 15 September 2014. The person concerned was notified on 4 December 2014 that this application was successful and that the allowance has been aw...More Button

In the case of the application which was refused on medical grounds the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the decision to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision dire...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a review of a domiciliary care allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned on the 27th June 2014. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who did ...More Button

A review of this decision was requested on 7th October 2014 and additional information on this child’s condition/care needs has been supplied. The application together with the new information su...More Button

Illness Benefit Applications

Was asked: the position regarding a benefit in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

To qualify for illness benefit certain statutory PRSI insurance contribution conditions must be satisfied. One of these requires that the claimant have at least 104 reckonable contributions paid si...More Button

Social Welfare Code

Was asked: if she will amend social welfare regulations to address the anomaly where a married couple (details supplied) in receipt of carer's allowance and jobseeker's allowance have income earned on a once-...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

Was asked: the position regarding jobseeker's backdated payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned made an application for jobseeker’s allowance on 3 July 2014 and was scheduled for an appointment on 15 July 2014. He attended this appointment and was given a form UP12 confir...More Button

Diet Supplement Payments

Was asked: if she will provide the standing of the independent appeals officer decision where in August 2014 they decided to overturn the previous decision in favour of a person (details supplied) in County K...More Button

Further to previous PQ 44094-14 relating to this client and to contact with officials from my Department the appeal decision was implemented in full. More Button

I am advised that the appeal was implemented on the understanding that the client provide further information to the Department that remained outstanding. At that time the diet supplement of €56...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: her views on the most recent LCP Ireland pensions accounting briefing (details supplied) which estimated the current deficit in the 29 largest defined benefit pension schemes to have more than doub...More Button

I am aware of the funding difficulties facing many defined benefit pension scheme in recent years. More Button

The Pensions Act sets out the funding level which the trustees of a defined benefit pension scheme are required to maintain. This requirement is often referred to as the funding standard. This ...More Button

A range of legislative measures have been put in place in recent years to help employers and the trustees of schemes to secure the sustainability of those schemes. One of these measures is a req...More Button

As pensions accounting figures are based on volatile corporate bond yields, the resulting figures are volatile from year to year. This is especially true of accounting deficit or surplus figures...More Button

As a result of the measures put in place in recent years, almost all defined benefits pension schemes are either meeting the funding standard or are on a recovery plan with the objective of meeti...More Button

It is possible that the State would be exposed to the risk of financial loss under conditions of double insolvency, i.e., where a sponsoring employer and an associated underfunded defined benefit...More Button

Due to the 2013 legislation which placed boundaries on the situation, the exposure to the State is now considered relatively modest and is expected to diminish as more and more schemes improve th...More Button

My officials have taken steps to ensure that pensions scheme financial data is submitted to the Pensions Authority more regularly than previously, enabling my Department to closely monitor the si...More Button

Family Income Supplement Payments

Was asked: if a person who is claiming family income supplement where their circumstances have changed substantially may make changes to their claim within the 12 month period; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

The family income supplement (FIS) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. FIS is designed to prevent child and family poverty and to offe...More Button

An integral part of the FIS scheme is that once the level of payment is determined, it continues to be payable at that rate for a period of 52 weeks, provided that the person remains in full-time...More Button

- If a claimant starts to care for an additional child in the course of the 52 weeks.More Button

- If a claimant was getting a one-parent family payment and this payment was stopped because their youngest child reached the relevant age limit, then the FIS rate can be reassessed to take accou...More Button

The rate of payment will not change if there is an increase or decrease in the recipient’s earnings. A key advantage of this approach, which is unique to the FIS scheme, is that claimants can be ...More Button

I have no plans to change the existing arrangements.More Button

  Question No. 147 withdrawn.More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Was asked: the reason outgoings such as the property tax, bin charges and water charges are not taken into account when assessing a person’s means when applying for a social welfare payment.More Button

The Department operates a range of means tested social assistance payments. The means test takes account of the income and assets of the person (and spouse/partner, if applicable) applying for the ...More Button

The weekly entitlement of the person is the maximum weekly rate of payment for the relevant family less the means calculated. In calculating the means of a person, no account is taken of any outg...More Button

To do so would, for example, be of no benefit to a person who had no income or assets as the entitlement would be the maximum weekly rate of payment applicable to the family concerned. If the rel...More Button

  Questions Nos. 153 and 154 withdrawn.More Button

National Internship Scheme Administration

Was asked: her views on the recent downgrading of the STEP Enterprises service run by St. John of God's; the relationship between the JobBridge scheme and this service; if allowances are made to allow persons...More Button

Mortgage Interest Relief Eligibility

Was asked: the reason mortgage interest supplement ceased in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if it will be restored in view of the difficult financial circumstances in this case; an...More Button

The original purpose of the mortgage interest supplement (MIS) scheme was to provide short-term support to eligible people who are unable to meet their mortgage interest repayments in respect of a ...More Button

Exceptional Needs Payments

Was asked: the procedure to be followed to obtain an exceptional needs payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A claim for assistance with funeral expenses under the social welfare allowance scheme is treated as a claim for an exceptional needs payment. The Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005, Section ...More Button

A designated person of my Department will examine and establish the circumstances of the person applying for assistance, the circumstances of that person’s household, the circumstances of the dec...More Button

Exceptional Needs Payment Applications

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 4 of 20 November 2014 if and when an exceptional needs payment will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who submitted all releva...More Button

The person concerned submitted an application for an exceptional needs payment. The claim was refused as the persons total income is €221.35 per week in excess of the basic SWA rate for the family ...More Button

Mortgage Interest Relief Application

Was asked: if the circumstances surrounding the refusal of mortgage support in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be reviewed in view of their ongoing difficult circumstances follo...More Button

The claim for mortgage interest supplement in respect of the person concerned was disallowed on 23 December 2011. This decision was upheld by the social welfare appeals office in an appeal decisio...More Button

Gender Recognition

Was asked: if he will ensure that the revised general scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 is amended, to remove the fact that the proposed criteria for 16 and 17 year olds to access the legislation req...More Button

The Revised General Scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill, published in June of this year, was the culmination of an extensive consultation process – including consideration by the Joint Committee ...More Button

The provisions contained in the Revised General Scheme in relation to 16/17 year olds seek to strike the appropriate balance between enabling such persons to acquire a gender recognition certific...More Button

There are particular constitutional difficulties which arise in relation to married people seeking a gender recognition certificate. The Revised General Scheme of the Bill retains the requireme...More Button

The arrangements to be provided for in the Bill, which will be published shortly, have at their core a genuine commitment on the part of the Government to enabling transgender persons to be recog...More Button

An Fhoireann Rannach

Tá breis agus 300 comhalta foirne ag an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí a luaigh, mar chuid de shuirbhé ar an bhfoireann ar tugadh faoi go déanach in 2012, go bhfuil siad toilteanach agus go bhfuil sé ar ...More Button

Tá pleananna ann chun painéal d’oifigigh a labhraíonn an Ghaeilge a bhunú mar chuid den fheachtas reatha Oifigeach Cléireachais a bhfuil an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí ag tabhairt faoi. Bain...More Button

Níl fáil ar aon sonraí stairiúla do na blianta eile a d’iarr an Leas-Oifigeach.More Button